Album Review: Deadmau5's While(1<2)

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Joel Zimmerman is a Canadian house music and EDM producer, better known by his stage name Deadmau5. His most recent project, album While(1<2), was a pleasant surprise released in June of 2014. Zimmerman composes and produces songs in such a way that we are brought to the core of not only EDM, but all of music; the idea of tension and release. Before the release of the album, Zimmerman promoted it by releasing seven piano sonatas. Each was named after one of the seven deadly sins, “Acedia”, “Avaritia”, “Gula”, “Invidia”, “Ira”, “Luxuria”, and “Superbia”. These were later seen on the album as singles that had been mixed with elements from EDM, to create an interesting blend. It’s best seen on the single “Gula” in a drop when the piano sonata falls away. They are placed intermittently throughout the album to help break up the repetitive feel that it gets as a result of being an EDM album.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GC_9-YCdrN8

Despite this, the whole album has a very mechanical feel to it, lacking in overly emotional singles. Each song presents a simple idea, and Zimmerman experiments and evolves the idea as it progresses. This is very apparent in any given song, but on singles like “Somewhere Up Here” it functions as the driving force; the notes at the beginning are minimalistic and have an industrial feel to them. Chords fall into place as a guitar and piano part are introduced, and about halfway, all that comes together with a drum set and vocals. Stylistically, this tends to be true for the majority of Zimmerman’s songs, which gives the already length album (139:17) a long and drawn out feel.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5qkHj8GE1k

Despite that, While(1<2) has unity and flow – it presents a fantastic perspective not only on electronic music but also on how electronic music can be implemented and blended with other genres. It’ll be exciting to see what direction Deadmau5’s next album goes in.